I attended L.A. Comic Con for my sixth straight year and witnessed first hand how it's grown almost exponentially during that time. In 2013, Stan Lee's Comikaze (as it was known) was in its third year and attracted over 50,000 attendees. This year, organizers expected 100,000. If crowds are any indication, this con easily hit that mark.
The attraction always has been its more accessible show floor (though managing growth is going to be a big issue moving forward), the variety of vendors especially comic book/graphic novel exhibitors, and the opportunity to meet creators, in particular indie artists trying to carve or expand their niche. In that regard I'm reminded of shows like E3 or IndieCade, where attendees and creators can inspire each other.
This con was no exception as the show floor once again had a large area devoted to the Artist Alley; a sizable section for comic books, graphic novels and publishers; a significant area for toys, games and collectibles; and a few aisles each for anime, cosplay, fantasy, steampunk and sci-fi, in addition to a horror section sponsored by Fangoria.
Among the artists whose booths I visited was Wizyakuza (Ceasar Ian Muyuela) of the Philippines. His work is based on a lifelong love of pop culture characters and references. The specific art that caught my eye were 3D transition lenticular prints, the kind that change appearance as you pass in front of them. My favorite was his Fire Vs. Ice print of Game of Throne's Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon/The Night King and Viserion.
Wangjie Li is another impressive artist. His digital images have the appearance of detailed portraits in some instances or Impressionist canvases in others. A self-described concept artist/illustrator, he also is an instructor. His online class IE-Art Studio forms the basis for the book The Art of Wangjie Li, which collects materials from the class in the form of demos that show his steps in creating digital art. It is beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully explained.
A creation that likewise attracted my attention was the comic Angela and the Dark. With colorful artwork on display that depicted a confident child amid a neon-lit steampunk future, I was drawn to the booth and writer Umbrus Syn (A. Diallo Jackson). He explained that Angela is a kind of Pippi Longstocking -- an adventurous, strong-willed, independent and self-sufficient girl.
The story is set in a mega city of the future, Metron City, that is beset by the opposing interests of the Federal Police, the seven crime families that run the metropolis, and a group of cat-burglaring techno-thieves known as The Dark. It follows Angela's adventures as she navigates this treacherous landscape while discovering more about her past and the person she is becoming. Published by Forge Creation, with artwork by Russell Fox.
Brielle and the Horror is a graphic novel whose genre and artful, deep red cover piqued my curiosity. The story of a Catholic high school girl possessed by a demon and pursued by a secret agency and fanatical priests is lavishly illustrated in a volume that the creators call a live-action comic book. Jarel Barel explained to me that they staged photo shoots of the action, then illustrated them, resulting in the unique, cinematic quality of the book by Loaded Barrel Studios.
Finally, while a variety of collectibles caught my eye like a Pip-Boy pin at the Wasteland Exports booth, a Leeloo Dallas Multipass at the World-8 booth, and a Fallout mystery box from another exhibitor, I ended up at the booth for Collector's Edge where I marveled at the variety of statues/action figures on display representing Japanese pop culture icons like Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman and Giant Robot, and their villains. They even had The War of the Gargantuas figures!
No comic con would be complete without a multitude of booths selling a wide array of comic books, graphic novels, books, prints, posters, action figures, plushies, models, pins, T-shirts, cosplay accessories, hats, jewelry and all manner of pop culture merchandise. Plus cosplayers were out in force representing characters from DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, video games, etc. See accompanying photos for some of the impressive costumes on display.
For more on the 2018 L.A. Comic Con experience, please see the following blogs:
L.A. Comic Con 2018: Prospect Panel Q&A: A discussion with select cast and crew on the production of this new independent sci-fi Western, which opens this Friday, November 2.
L.A. Comic Con 2018: Neon Future Interview: A discussion with co-creator and co-writer (and Impact Theory founder) Tom Bilyeu on the futuristic comic book's concept and story.
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